Tellison and Grieving interview… each other

Tellison and Grieving interview… each other

By Glen Bushell

Nov 23, 2016 9:58

As Tellison and Grieving prepare to head out on a brief run of shows together, the two bands sat down for a chat to find out a bit more about what they can expect from four days on the road together.

Grieving, to Tellison’s Stephen Davidson:

Q: What does Tellison mean? And what doesn’t it mean?

A: Tellison means never give up, look after each other, behave in a civilised way as much as you can even when it’s easier and probably better for you on an individual level not to. It means eat that whole pizza if you want to, go to that gig on your own and stand at the front, take yourself on a date, have a great time, buy and wear that coat you think is great but everyone else says is “bad” and “horrible”, believe in yourself and don’t let anyone tell you differently, fight the good fucking fight basically and never, ever, ever give up. Tellison doesn’t mean those people who could actually give you a break will ever reply to your emails or phonecalls, or that things will ever be simple and easy, it doesn’t mean every pizza you order will be delicious or even strictly digestible, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to mix your drinks into your thirties and get away with it the next day and it doesn’t mean you won’t be made weaker by the things that don’t kill you and ultimately die of those weaknesses.  

Q: If Pedro is a Lion, what animal is each member of Tellison?

A: Andrew is an otter, determined with a stone in his pocket, holding hands in his sleep. Peter is something furry and good that likes to nap and looks for solitude and peace to do its business. Henry I think is some kind of snow leopard or puma or private and regal animal that probably is better than us on a level we don’t know about. I am a beluga whale, pale and hideous but curious and desirous of friendship and acceptance.

Q: Who/what band is your favourite recent music discovery?

A: Along with a billion other people I really like that Pinegrove record. They seem to be an excellent band so far. The Spills I think are probably the best British guitar band around at the moment and their last record was EXCELLENT. I love the new John K Samson record, it only just came out so I only recently discovered that. He’s a smart and thoughtful man and so so good at writing great songs. Darn. 

Q: Why are sad songs so much better?

A: Because in sadness we are all together. If someone is happy you resent and loathe them and wish ill upon them until they too are sad like you or (even better) until they are sad and it is your turn to be happy and in the golden light of the sun. A light which is all the more perfect because it is transitory. 

Q: What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever eaten?

A: I ate a huge, huge pizza from somewhere called “Pizza at Home” once back in the late 2000s and it gave me terrible, truly terrible food poisoning. Then we were on tour for two weeks and it was, shall we say, uncomfortable. The rest of the band also ate these “Pizzas at Home” but none of them got sick. I also once made myself a really staggering banana split with brownies and ice cream and squeezy cream and sauces and then I wanted to die.

Q: What is the best cocktail?

A: The Tellison cocktail. It’s really a cocktail cycle. It’s called the “Hammer Challenge”. Buy one pint of lager and drink half of it. Then buy one double gin and tonic and pour that into your remaining pint. You are now holding a “Hammer”, majestic king of cocktails. Drink half of this. Buy a half of cider, pour that in. You’re now holding the subtle “Sledgehammer”. Drink half of it. Buy a double Jack Daniels and coke, pour that on in. This is the mighty “Jackhammer”, a curious brew that tastes (to some) like ice cream. Drink all of it. Repeat. (if you prefer you can drink half of your “Jackhammer” and add some sangria to create the “Bloodhammer” or some Guinness to birth the “Blackhammer”. Probably don’t do these last bits. Though a man I went to University with once drank two cycles of hammers, with Blookhammer finishes, and was up for church the next morning.) Remember to drink and behave sensibly and responsibly (though I’m not sure how to do that whilst completing the Hammer Challenge). Probably don’t do the Hammer Challenge everyone. When we’re all dead and gone the Hammer Challenge will probably be Tellison’s only lasting contribution to the world of rock and roll music. 

Q: Which is the best chord?

A: Fadd9 played on as many instruments as you have to hand with an additional D played on the fifth fret of the A string of a bass guitar. 

Q: We’re really into the sound of the last record, where did you record it, who with and did you have any tracks left over that are yet to see the light of day?

A: Thank you. We like it too. We recorded it in a very tiny studio under the McDonald’s at Highbury & Islington in London with a man called Andrew Jenkin. We spent a very very long time getting everything just right. It was the first time we’d just used all our own equipment and recorded in a way that meant we contributed from the first step to the sounds the guitars and drums and everything else made. It was terrifying but liberating and it was a lot of fun. We also didn’t do a huge amount else for about a year while we were making it. We did indeed record some songs that didn’t make the record. Some have been released as bonus tracks and b sides, some will emerge in the future. 

Q: Have you started writing for album four just yet?

A: Yes. I have written a complete song about scientific methods and real life and several incomplete songs about the life of a man and an increasingly sentient computer on a lonely space lighthouse in the uncaring darkness of space. I’ll try to write some more over the next few months. Although all I really seem to want to do is cover “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “I should be so lucky”. Peter is also writing new songs.

Q: Stephen, you work for Football Manager (the game) outside of the band, can you name us 2-3 dead cert winners to buy from lower leagues early please?

A: My favourite current footballers in the lower leagues are Sam Foley, Kieffer Moore and George Corp. They probably won’t  win you much silverware but medals aren’t the only way to be a champion.

Q: What’s the best music related movie ever?

A: I thought Frank captured the reality of being in a small band pretty darn well. Dirty vans, hot tubs and papier mache egos.

Q: And on the subject of movies, you guys worked in an arts cinema with some of us a few years back – what are you favourite stories about the “regular” visitors? Who do you miss?

A: There was a man who used to build model lifts in the bar, there was an employee who dressed up as an old woman and pretended to be a difficult customer to his colleagues. One time I met Paddy Considine and complimented him on his leather jacket, he seemed genuinely grateful. Mostly I miss my friends and the excellent hijinks.

Q: What do you want for Christmas (or applicable holiday)?

A: I’d like the expansion packs for Settler of Catan and maybe a new suit please. Also one thousand books and some new bookshelves for those books. 

Q: How are you handling the fame?

A: Badly. I comfort eat and I don’t exercise and I’m worried most of the time. I do enjoy being able to expense meals at country pubs though.

Q: Who are you weaker than?

A: Almost all people and things. Though on occasion I have an enormous well of strength and determination I can call upon in the darkest moments. Also my favourite racket sport is badminton. So tennis players.

Q: What are you least afraid of?

A: I am not afraid of going on stage. Once you’ve died in front of a sold out house then gone home and had some toast a few times you realise you’re invincible. 

Q: Where to next?

A: To Cambridge and Bristol and Manchester and London on a small tour this week with you, the people asking us these ridiculous questions, Grieving. Then home to Scotland for Christmas. After that who knows, maybe I’ll take my own advice and move to New York.  

Tellison and Grieving interview… each other

Tellison, to James Parrish, Jack Hurst, and Ned Wilson-Eames of Grieving.

What are you grieving about?

James: a terrible, rash choice of band name. Jenny from Forrest Gump. Most Michael Haneke films. The 52%.

Ned: Fry’s dog in that Futurama episode. Also something like 90% of things that happened in 2016.

Who would play each of the band members in a film about Grieving and why?

Jack: We would be played by:

Michael Fassbender – looks a little like Ned
Hugh Jackman – looks a little like James
Ryan Phillipe – a blonde actor I could think of
Brian Blessed – apparent beard comparisons

James: In the days before the beard and fuller hair, I got told that I looked “a bit like David Schwimmer”. A solid 6 and a half out of 10 looking dude if ever I saw one. So let’s give him the role, and these days he’ll be thankful for the work. Everyone wins.

Ned: I do a pretty good Ryan Gosling impression. Also I we can both play the ukulele I think? Anyway he should play me for sure.

Which record from the last five years do you wish you wrote?

Jack: GY!BE – ‘Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress’

Ned: Alex G – ‘DSU’

James: Japandroids – ‘Celebration Rock’

When will there be a Grieving album?

Jack: I guess when we’ve recorded enough songs for one.

James: No one listens past the fourth track of anything on Spotify these days so we’ll stick to another EP for now. We’re recording four songs in January with Bob Cooper who has a produced a bunch of great British and US bands over the last few years. I’d love to do an album one day, just to say we did it.

Are you “chasing the dream”? Does Grieving want a big record label, a booking agent, worldwide tours etc? Or do you have different goals?

James: Honestly? I know that even if those opportunities presented themselves, we could never commit in the way the industry would to James Parrish, Jack Hurst, and Ned Wilson-Eames of Grieving like. Labels want bands to tour all the time these days and while this is the first time I’ve written this in an interview, a defining thing about this band or at least my part in it, is my hearing. I have moderate to severe hearing loss which has grown from around 10-15% at birth, that didn’t mean much beyond having to sit at the front of some classes at school, to something like 30% now. I have to wear a small NHS hearing aid in my left ear socially and as I work in the music industry as my day job anyway, I have no escape from live bands, nor would I want that escape. But actually standing by that howling amp on stage, and in rehearsals? Probably not a great idea long term. I shouldn’t even be doing it now, hearing protection or not. There’s a time limit on how long I can do this, certainly.

This is my hobby. Hopefully some people think me and my pals in the band are good at their hobby and will want to listen to the music and tell their friends to do the same. We’re never going to be the cash cow “a big record label” are looking for these days, no matter how good or theoretically commercial the songs we go on to write may or may not be.

But, hey, I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice to put out a record on vinyl, it would. And if someone wanted to pay for the pressing who are we to argue?

Which band member would win a game of British Bulldogs and why?

Jack: James would say James. But he is wrong. The correct answer is Jack.

James: Jack would say Jack. But he is wrong. The correct answer is James.

Ned: I’ve been told that I’m pretty nimble, but yeah I think the pressure would get too much and Jack or James would take it. Simper would try his best.

Where would you like to emigrate to and why?

Jack: Sweden. It’s lovely there.

James: Iceland and Croatia are the two places that have resonated with me most. The first feels like a different planet entirely.

Ned: Canada? Yeah sure Canada. Lot of good stuff in Canada I hear.

What bands/musicians do you respect? Why?

James: There are many but – Ian Mackaye of Fugazi for sure. There was an interview a year or so back that just blew my mind with his outlook. I like how musically he and his bands all tried something different, pushing boundaries without pushing your patience, and I respect those early ideals on ticket prices, merchandise etc. even if do you have to bear in mind that it was still a time where people bought records…

I remember reading a piece years ago that said that during the time they were an active band they would rehearse almost every day – based on the idea that it was their job, and everyone else has to go to work each day, why shouldn’t they? I’m into that.

Which wrist should people wear their watch on?

Jack: Opposite wrist to the dominant hand.

Ned: I don’t mind which one, but the watch face should be worn on the inside of the wrist. That way other people can’t see your time.

What kind of pizza would you like?

Jack: Might be controversial but, I’m pro-anchovies and anti-pineapple on pizzas. That’s all I really care about. Everything else is fine.

James: Jalapenos on everything. Currently trying to lose some weight, so this might just be a craving from my sub-conscious: stuffed cheese crust.

Ned: Stuffed crust is the worst thing invented. I’ll take mine spicy, vegetarian, and often.
If you could be 18 and start your adult life again what would you do?

Jack: Professional beer and bed/comfy sofa tester. That way I could drink beers and also nap, professionally.

James: I can’t complain. Life is pretty good, I’m happy with most of my choices even those I wasn’t happy with at the time. If you’re 18 and reading this right now: be nice to your parents. For the most part, just be nice to everyone. Look forward, not back.

What’s the point of being a band at all in 2016?

Jack: Playing music live will never not be fun. Also writing new music is cool, too.

James: Umm, do it because you love doing it. Otherwise don’t. In my day job I sometimes get preposterous emails from people wanting to be “the biggest band in the world”. Be realistic, it will hurt less in the long term. Do it because you it makes you happy and maybe you’re just about okay at doing it, or at least believe you might be, and if anything comes from that enjoy it for all it is.

How do you feel about pointy guitars?

James: Do you mean flying V’s? Explorers? I think I would need to learn how to pull off a next level solo before I should ever be allowed anywhere near one. And I never will.

Ned: Does Bo Diddley’s rectangular guy count as pointy? Anyway I generally think those spiked metalhead shred-master guitars are ugly as sin, but play what you like man. I’d like to see them adopted by more smooth jazz noodlers.

Name the items on your ultimate breakfast plate.

Jack: Toast, peanut butter AND jam.

James: I want the full American buffet, please. Especially those weird cubed potatoes. And let’s divvy up all the meat that Ned can’t eat and share it round.

Ned: I’ve gotten quite into the elitist hip breakfast nonsense going on right now. Sourdough toast, poached eggs, avocado whatever, artisan mushrooms… I don’t care man lay it on.

Do you ever get scared when you’re alone in the house?

Jack: I live alone and deal with this often. Based on a real life experience it now manifests primarily when I’m cooking. I got given a super sharp sushi knife for Xmas last year. One night I got in late and wanted toast, however I didn’t own a breadknife. So I went to slice bread with the new sharp knife, but I lay the loaf flat and cut sideways horizontally, rather than vertically down into the board. The knife just slipped straight through the bread and half way through my thumb.
At that point, a teense tipsy still, standing in my kitchen alone, no idea how to fix it. Do I go to hospital? – no car. Do I call 999? Pissing blood all over the place, I had a moment where I was like “What if I just keep bleeding? Will I die? No one would know for ages.”
I now own a bread knife and haven’t had any knife injuries in a while. Still though, the sharp knife haunts me. Every time I go to cut with it, I have flashbacks and weird day dream/daymares about just slicing fingers clean off.

If you had to change your band name what would be the top three options?

Four, our top four options. Jack, and the big 3, The Jack Hurst Project, The Jack Hurst, The Parrish Council

You can catch Tellison and Grieving at the following dates this week.

24th CAMBRIDGE @ The Blue Moon
25th BRISTOL @ The Exchange
26th MANCHESTER @ Pop Bubble Rock!
27th LONDON @ The Lexington (w/ Doe)